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Baby bison born in Fota to be named by local school students

The baby bison, who has yet to be named, was born on 25 October.

Image: Darragh Kane/Fota Wildlife Park

A NEW BABY European bison has been born in Fota Wildlife Park in Cork.

The park announced today that the baby bison, who has yet to be named, was born on 25 October.

New parents Blue and Hyssop are among bisons living in zoos and wildlife parks under a European effort to conserve the vulnerable species, which was previously extinct in the wild.

Students in the Mayfield Community School in Cork are putting together a list of suggested names for the new bison to send to rangers at Fota, who are expected to choose a name from the list later this month.

Lead Ranger Aidan Rafferty said that Fota was “delighted to announce the birth of this baby bison”.

“Once extinct in the wild, recently the species had a population regrowth in Eastern Europe,” Rafferty said.

DK03122020 BISON 017 Source: Darragh Kane/Fota WIldlife Park

“It brings meaning to everything we do here to be a part of this long-term conservation plan that has seen the European bison re-established in the wild from captive-born animals from zoological organisations,” he said.

“It brings to life, literally, exactly what zoos and wildlife parks are all about.”

Hyssop, the baby bison’s father, is the dominant bull in the herd at Fota.

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He came to the wildlife park from Port Lympne Reserve in the UK size years ago under the European Endangered Species breeding Programme (EEP).

Fota has reported an “influx” of donations from the public after the Save Dublin Zoo campaign, which was launched to support Dublin Zoo in November as it faced significant revenue losses due to Covid-19. 

€1.6 million was secured for Irish zoos during the campaign.

Of the funding, €1.1 million will go to Dublin Zoo and Fota, and the remainder will be used to support 69 small and medium-sized zoos in locations around Ireland.

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